U.S. extends land border rules to Canada and Mexico, eases other travel measures

Click to play video: 'U.S. extends travel restrictions at land borders'
U.S. extends travel restrictions at land borders
WATCH: It will be at least another month before the U.S. will consider easing restrictions at its land border crossings. – Sep 20, 2021

While pressure has mounted on U.S. President Joe Biden and his government to re-open land borders with neighbouring countries, that won’t be the case for at least another month. On Monday, the Biden administration announced the U.S.-Canada and Mexico borders will be closed until at least October 21.

The border has been closed since March 2020.

While travel restrictions for Canadians remain strict, the U.S. is looking to ease foreign air travel restrictions, which will allow fully vaccinated foreigners to enter the country.

Starting in November, any air traveller coming to the U.S. will need to provide proof of negative COVID-19 taken at least 72 hours prior to boarding and certification of their double-vaccination status.

The new policy announced on Monday will no longer limit travellers from specific countries like the U.K., China and India.

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“This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” said Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID-19 co-ordinator.

Click to play video: 'U.S. extends land border rules to Canada and Mexico, eases other travel measures'
U.S. extends land border rules to Canada and Mexico, eases other travel measures

For unvaccinated U.S. citizens, the rules will also be tightened. Any unvaccinated American will need to be tested one day before travelling to the U.S. or leaving. Fully vaccinated passengers will not need to complete a quarantine.

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The federal government has added fully vaccinated foreign nationals to the ranks of travellers who are once again welcome on Canadian soil.

Airlines will be forced to collect contact information from international travellers to allow for contract tracing, Zients said.

One of the most vocal critics of the travel restrictions, New York Congressman Brian Higgins, called on the U.S. to re-open the borders fully.

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“It is welcome news that the White House is making progress on reciprocating international public health measures to protect air travellers,” wrote Higgins in a statement.

Higgins, whose congressional district falls in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, two cities that rely on economic tourism, lamented the damage the closures are having on businesses within the community.

“It is inexplicable that no announcement on easing travel restrictions at land ports of entry is being made today since the livelihoods of communities across the northern border depend on cross-border commerce,” he said.

While the U.S. border remains shut to Canadians, all fully vaccinated Americans have been able to travel to Canada since Aug 9.

Canadian border was finally reopened Monday to fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents.

Americans will need to provide COVID-19 tests that are less than 72 hours old, live in the U.S. and are two weeks past their last COVID-19 shot to be let in. Visitors will also need to upload vaccination details online and will be tested upon arrival
Click to play video: 'Frustration from Canadians unable to cross U.S. land border'
Frustration from Canadians unable to cross U.S. land border

Canada also eased travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for other international travellers who were fully vaccinated earlier this month. As of Sept. 7, any traveller needed to show that they had received two vaccine shots and a negative test for COVID-19 that is no more than 72 hours old.

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All vaccination details for travellers coming to Canada needed to be logged into either the ArriveCAN app or online website.

While the rules in the U.S. are being loosened, it’s unclear which vaccines will be accepted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to Zients, the decision would be left up to the CDC.

with files from the Associated Press

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